Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

Scott Willis / WAER News

About 100 Syracuse middle school students made their voices heard Thursday at a first-ever symposium designed to collect feedback on their educational experience.  Most were candid with their answers on sensitive topics, including this panel of students who were asked if they felt their peers were treated differently based on race.

This was one of many groups of mixed students at the event who discussed the varying perceptions of race among students and faculty.

Many of the middle school students also see their peers regarded differently when it comes to discipline.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A confirmed case of the Zika Virus in Oneida County has prompted Senator Chuck Schumer to urge his congressional colleagues to approve nearly two billion dollars in emergency funding to fight the epidemic.  He made his plea Wednesday at SUNY  Upstate, which has already done significant work with mosquito-borne illnesses.

Provided photo

The administrator of board tasked with investigating allegations of police misconduct is stepping down Friday to take a related position in New York City.  WAER News caught up with Joe Lipari, who came to Syracuse in 2012 when the Citizen Review Board was trying to regain its footing after years of obscurity and inactivity.

GETTING STARTED

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County lawmakers Tuesday agreed to transfer a parcel of land along Onondaga Lake to the Onondaga Nation while the county continues its effort to ensure public access to the rest of the lakeshore. 

   Many were concerned an early version of the resolution  proposed three weeks ago went back on a 2011 promise to give Murphy’s Island near Destiny USA to the Onondaga’s.  But Chairman Ryan McMahon says that measure was just a non-binding gesture that never saw any additional action.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Taking renewable energy to the streets

One of the stops on Saturday’s self-guided tour of renewable energy sites in Onondaga County is the nine electric car charging stations on Water Street, near the Erie Canal Museum.  With a total of 120 charging stations around the county, there are more charging stations than electric vehicles. However, soon, plug-in electric cars could become more common on the Central New York roadways.

Scott Willis / WAER News

In celebration of Earth Day, Central New Yorkers will have the chance on Saturday to visit more than 20 sites across Onondaga County to see how they’re using renewable energy.  We chose three of them and are starting with with a geothermal system underneath the pike block in downtown Syracuse.

President of IPD engineering Sam Cosamano walked through a series of doors to the mechanical room in the basement of the Witherell building.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Tina Serio still struggles to come to grips with the death of her younger sister more than a year ago at age 38.  At the same time, it warms her heart to know Dawn Woods saved several other lives because she donated her organs.

"One of her kidneys was transplanted into a 53-year-old man," Serio said.  "He's married, he's from New York, and has two children.  Her other kidney went to a woman who's 50 years old.  She waited three long years for a kidney."

Sophia Morris / WAER News

Hundreds of fans gathered at Driver’s Village Friday in support of republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.  Michael Skroupa was excited to hear Cruz address matters of foreign policy and military actions.

"I want to hear about what his plan is to deal with ISIS.  That's a growing problem that's destabilizing the region.  I also want to hear what he's going to do about Russian aggression  going on right now."

Scott Willis / WAER News

Sometimes the best things come in small packages. That’s certainly what the Director of Tiny Homes For Good, Andrew Lunetta believes as a wall goes up on one of his miniature houses for homeless veterans.

Volunteers have broken ground on two 300 square-foot homes on Rose Avenue in Syracuse.

Lunetta said although tiny homes have become a fad across the country, his homes are not a publicity stunt and are truly cost effective solutions to homelessness in Syracuse.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The City of Syracuse is preparing to embark on a new, proactive approach to repairing sections of its aging infrastructure.  It’s the primary focus of the city’s innovation, or I-team.   Council public works committee chair Helen Hudson looks at it this way.  

"This is the new innovative approach they're taking to try to identify the problems before they become real problems."

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